Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Thursday. We get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the co-creators. Readers can find us on Twitter @asimendinger and @alweaver22. Please recommend the Morning Report to friends and let us know what you think. CLICK HERE to subscribe!
Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 374,329; Tuesday, 376,280; Wednesday, 380,796; Thursday, 384,764.
Deaths worldwide approach 2 million.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States surpassed 23 million.
The House voted to impeach President TrumpDonald TrumpCotton: Senate lacks authority to hold impeachment trial once Trump leaves office Marjorie Taylor Greene says she will introduce impeachment articles against Biden ICE acting director resigns weeks after assuming post MORE on Wednesday for his role in last week’s riot on the U.S. Capitol, making him the first president in history to be impeached twice.
Wednesday’s 232-197 vote came 13 months after the House voted to impeach Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice. Unlike the first go-around, Democrats won support from across the aisle as 10 House Republicans, led by Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyPelosi signs article of impeachment charging Trump with incitement Kinzinger says he is ‘in total peace’ after impeachment vote Crenshaw defends Cheney against calls to resign: ‘We can disagree without tearing each other apart’ MORE (Wyo.), voted to remove the president on the charge of “inciting an armed insurrection against America” (The Hill).
Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiUnions ask Pelosi and Schumer for T in emergency aid for state and local governments GOP senators call for commission to investigate Capitol attack Graham urging Biden to get Pelosi to ‘call off’ impeachment proceedings MORE (D-Calif.), who oversaw both impeachment efforts, argued that the president’s constant refusal to accept the results of the 2020 election and rallying of supporters to overturn the results amounted to sedition. She added that Congress was given no choice a week after the attack took place.
“We know we experienced the insurrection that violated the sanctity of the people’s Capitol,” Pelosi said on the House floor before the vote. “And we know that the president of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion, against our common country. … He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”
The vote garnered a wider margin than either of the votes in December 2019 (230-197 and 229-198) despite the losses House Democrats incurred in the November election.
Cheney was joined by nine other House Republicans to impeach Trump: Reps. Anthony GonzalezAnthony GonzalezOhio Republican knocks Trump criticism of spending bill: ‘Items he complained about’ are a ‘lie’ or ‘in HIS budget’ House Republicans who didn’t sign onto the Texas lawsuit Cheney, top GOP lawmakers ask Trump campaign for proof of election fraud MORE (Ohio), Jaime Herrera BeutlerJaime Lynn Herrera BeutlerKinzinger says he is ‘in total peace’ after impeachment vote Here are the House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump Sixth House Republican backs Trump impeachment MORE (Wash.), John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoKinzinger says he is ‘in total peace’ after impeachment vote House impeaches Trump for second time — with some GOP support Sixth House Republican backs Trump impeachment MORE (N.Y.), Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerKinzinger says he is ‘in total peace’ after impeachment vote Here are the House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump House impeaches Trump for second time — with some GOP support MORE (Ill.), Peter Meijer (Mich.), Dan NewhouseDaniel (Dan) Milton NewhouseGrowing number of GOP lawmakers say they support impeachment Rep. Rick Allen tests positive for COVID-19 The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC – Trump, Biden clash over transition holdup, pandemic plans MORE (Wash.), Tom RiceHugh (Tom) Thompson RiceREAD: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results GOP Rep. Dan Newhouse tests positive for COVID-19 Colorado Democrat Ed Perlmutter tests positive for coronavirus MORE (S.C.), Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonKinzinger says he is ‘in total peace’ after impeachment vote House impeaches Trump for second time — with some GOP support Sixth House Republican backs Trump impeachment MORE (Mich.) and David ValadaoDavid Goncalves ValadaoTop House Appropriations Republican tests COVID-19 positive Five centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Mastercard – Barr splits with Trump on election; pardon controversy MORE (Calif.) (The Hill).
The Washington Post: House hands Trump a second impeachment, this time with GOP support.
The Hill: Rice’s decision to back Trump’s impeachment was a surprise to many. He said the president’s actions since last week have been “inexcusable.”
Hours after the vote, Trump released a video on the White House Twitter account decrying the violence that took place last week. However, he made no mention of the House handing him the inglorious distinction.
“Mob violence goes against everything I believe in and everything our movement stands for. No true supporter of mine could truly endorse political violence,” Trump said (The Hill).
The New York Times: Under heavy pressure, Trump releases video condemning Capitol siege.
The Hill: Pelosi: Trump is a “clear and present danger.”
The Hill: In a written statement ahead of his impeachment, Trump called for “NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind.”
The House’s work is not finished yet as it remains unknown when Pelosi will send the articles across the Capitol complex to the Senate. The Speaker told reporters on Wednesday that she will “not be making that announcement right now,” though some on her leadership team are urging her not to wait, including House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: House moves toward second impeachment Hoyer: MAGA stands for ‘Make America Grieve Again’ LIVE COVERAGE: House votes to impeach Trump after Capitol insurrection MORE (D-Md.).
Once the House transmits the article of impeachment, all attention will be focused on the Senate. Shortly after Wednesday’s vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCotton: Senate lacks authority to hold impeachment trial once Trump leaves office GOP senators call for commission to investigate Capitol attack Graham urging Biden to get Pelosi to ‘call off’ impeachment proceedings MORE (R-Ky.) said that a trial in the upper chamber will not start until next week at the earliest, rejecting calls for members to return to Washington early.
“The Senate process will now begin at our first regular meeting following receipt of the article from the House,” McConnell said in a statement, adding that “there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial” could be completed before the inauguration of President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenCotton: Senate lacks authority to hold impeachment trial once Trump leaves office Marjorie Taylor Greene says she will introduce impeachment articles against Biden ICE acting director resigns weeks after assuming post MORE on Wednesday. “This is not a decision I am making; it is a fact. The President-elect himself stated last week that his inauguration on January 20 is the ‘quickest’ path for any change in the occupant of the presidency.”
The Senate is out of session until Tuesday, the eve of Biden’s inauguration.
No matter the timing of a trial, all eyes on the GOP side will be trained on McConnell, who on Wednesday notably declined to defend the president in a statement and left the door open to convicting him in the next phase (The Hill). If the Kentucky Republican votes to convict, at least 17 Senate Republicans are expected to follow — the number needed to reach the requisite 67 senators to remove him from office.
NBC News: Trump impeachment faces uphill climb in Senate. It could all come down to McConnell.
The New York Times: As his predecessor is impeached, Biden tries to stay above the fray.
As McConnell noted, Trump will be out of office either way, meaning that the real prize in the eyes of Trump’s opponents would be a post-conviction vote that would bar him from seeking elective office in the future.
“Make no mistake, there will be an impeachment trial in the United States Senate; there will be a vote on convicting the president for high crimes and misdemeanors; and if the president is convicted, there will be a vote on barring him from running again,” Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerTrump calls for ‘NO violence’ amid concerns of threats around inauguration Amazon cites death threats in push to keep Parler offline ‘I saw my life flash before my eyes’: An oral history of the Capitol attack MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.
With the vote by 10 House Republicans and McConnell’s maneuvering, the president is becoming increasingly isolated as a second impeachment puts a final, lasting stain on his legacy a week before he will leave office, as The Hill’s Brett Samuels and Morgan Chalfant write. The exit doors are in continuous use these days as Cabinet members and administration officials have fled for what they hope are greener pastures, with Trump’s most loyal supporters even being put off by what has happened in the past eight days.
Adding to the issues, Trump is without his megaphone of his presidency — his Twitter account, which has caused him major issues in communications and forced him to use round-about ways to release statements and videos to the public.
Niall Stanage: The Memo: Historic vote leaves Trump more isolated than ever.
The Associated Press: Enduring 2nd impeachment, Trump stands largely silent, alone.
LEADING THE DAY
MORE FALLOUT: Parts of Washington, D.C., look much like an Army base, with ominous fencing, check points, lines of armed troops wearing camouflage and roadblocks illuminated with flashing lights atop law enforcement vehicles. The sights are both chilling and reassuring, according to lawmakers and many residents.
Early this week, it seemed astonishing that 15,000 National Guard forces had been approved by the Pentagon to safeguard the city and the transfer of power at the Capitol. On Wednesday, planning for a show of force soared to 20,000 National Guardsmen — a militarized presence meant to deter violent protests and threatened attacks. It has surpassed the observable security implanted after 9/11 and visible precautions for open, public inaugural events during past years when crowds were welcomed and anticipated to be largely cooperative and celebratory (The Washington Post).
> Splintered conference: House conservatives plot to oust Cheney, the third highest ranking Republican, for her vote on Wednesday to impeach Trump. She said she is “not going anywhere” (The Hill).
Rep. Dan CrenshawDaniel CrenshawCrenshaw defends Cheney against calls to resign: ‘We can disagree without tearing each other apart’ Pompeo, Cruz and other Trump allies condemn Twitter’s ban on president Crenshaw says Trump amped up Capitol mob: ‘People were lied to’ MORE (R-Texas) defended Cheney. “Let’s get some truth on the record: @Liz_Cheney has a hell of a lot more backbone than most, & is a principled leader with a fierce intellect. She will continue to be a much needed leader in the conference, with my full support,” he tweeted.
Others in the House GOP conference believe Cheney will weather the storm of criticism from pro-Trump lawmakers. According to one House Republican, roughly one-third of House Republicans are upset at her, but still believes Wednesday’s vote will represent a blip on the radar screen for her.
“I have high confidence she will make it through this. She’s made bold statements and spoke passionately, it’s understandable it’s ruffled a few feathers,” one House Republican told the Morning Report, adding why she’ll probably survive the push to oust her. “She’s respected, and we don’t want to tear our party apart. Cooler heads will prevail.”
> New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioThird bank cuts ties with Trump after Capitol riot New York City ending multiple contracts with Trump Organization over Capitol riot Republican Staten Island candidate apologizes for Hitler reference MORE (D) on Wednesday announced that the city will sever all contracts with the Trump Organization, valued at $17 million, in response to the president’s incitement of a mob attack on the Capitol last week. The contracts are tied to a golf course, two ice rinks and a carousel (New York Daily News).
> Security: Warned by the FBI, state capitals are fortifying security ahead of next week’s inauguration, as legislators describe the unrest that is reverberating far beyond Washington (The Hill and The New York Times). … Federal authorities arrested two Virginia police officers from Rocky Mount, Va., who entered the Capitol during the melee last week and took selfies, which helped identify their presence. Officers Thomas Robertson and Jacob Fracker are charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violent entry or disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds (HuffPost).
The Hill: Pelosi warned lawmakers they will be fined $5,000 if they bypass the new magnetometers installed at entrances to the House floor.
The Hill: Two GOP senators known for their fealty to Trump on Wednesday called for the creation of a commission of security experts to investigate “massive security failures” before and during the Capitol attack.
The Washington Post: House Democrats on Wednesday called for an investigation of unsubstantiated allegations of “suspicious behavior and access given to visitors” by unnamed Republican lawmakers on the day before the Capitol siege. Some House Democrats have said they are suspicious that some in last week’s mob may have received inside help.
> Consequences & penalties: Public employees, including teachers and even one Texas jailer, who participated in last week’s siege of the Capitol are finding that employers, coworkers, neighbors and strangers have helped identify them to the FBI since events last week. Some of those identified as participants have lost their jobs, are under investigation by their employers or have been arrested (Reuters).
The Hill: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a newly elected QAnon adherent and Republican from Georgia, said on Wednesday that she will file articles of impeachment against Biden on his first full day as president. Greene, a Trump supporter who on Wednesday wore a face mask covered with the word “censored,” did not describe charges she has in mind, but she referenced false accusations about Biden and Ukraine during a Newsmax TV appearance.
> Politics: Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said he is skeptical of assertions by a wave of companies that have vowed to cut off contributions to lawmakers who objected last week to the Electoral College tallies in Arizona and Pennsylvania. Although Scott voted to overturn Pennsylvania’s electoral count, he says he can still effectively lead the Senate’s fundraising arm, the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
“If a company believes in high taxes and more regulations and bigger government and less money for the military, they ought to go fund the Democrats,” Scott told Roll Call. “If they believe what Republicans believe in, I think they’re going to fund us.”
IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
NEW ADMINISTRATION: Biden today will press Congress to deliver immediate pandemic “rescue” efforts before turning to broader “recovery” measures such as healthcare and infrastructure. Biden and his economic team will unveil specifics of a two-track plan today, which will separate relief initiatives during a pandemic and economic downturn (including proposed $2,000 payments to eligible Americans) from longer-range recovery investments, as described by Biden during his presidential campaign. That’s according to Brian DeeseBrian DeeseThe Hill’s Morning Report – Trump impeached again; now what? Left ramps up pressure on Biden for lobbying ethics pledge On The Money: Relief bill’s passage sets off scramble to declare victory, assign blame | Democrats say more COVID-19 relief needed after current measure becomes law | Biden economic adviser expects ‘very challenged’ economy early next year MORE, who becomes White House economic adviser next week. Biden has in mind spending “trillions” more on economic and COVID-19 response policies, and he wants bipartisan buy-in — a heavy lift among Republican lawmakers who now say they oppose soaring deficit spending (Reuters).
The Washington Post: Biden to include expanded child benefit in major new stimulus proposal.
> Nominations: Biden on Wednesday announced his choice of author and former U.N. Ambassador Samantha PowerSamantha Jane PowerOvernight Defense: Trump impeached for second time | National Guard at Capitol now armed, swelling to 20K troops for inauguration | Alabama chosen for Space Command home The Hill’s 12:30 Report: House moves toward second impeachment Biden nominates Samantha Power to lead USAID MORE to be administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Confirmation would elevate to National Security Council status both the agency and Power. She describes herself as a journalist, activist and academic and won a Pulitzer Prize for her book, “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.”
> Confirmation hearing: Biden nominee Avril Haines, chosen to be the director of National Intelligence, will go before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Friday, according to acting Chairman Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate panel to hold nomination hearing for Biden Intelligence director nominee this week Rubio invokes unity in request for Biden to call for individual K checks The Hill’s Morning Report – House to impeach Trump this week MORE (R-Fla.) and Vice Chairman Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSenate panel to hold nomination hearing for Biden Intelligence director nominee this week Overnight Defense: Trump impeached for second time | National Guard at Capitol now armed, swelling to 20K troops for inauguration | Alabama chosen for Space Command home Hillicon Valley: Fringe social networks boosted after Capitol attack | Planned protests spark fears of violence in Trump’s final days | Election security efforts likely to gain ground in Democrat-controlled Congress MORE (D-Va.). The confirmation hearing is open via WebEx at noon.
> 100-day agenda (mask up): Incoming White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiThe Hill’s Morning Report – Trump impeached again; now what? Incoming White House press secretary says staff will wear N95 masks Biden publicly receives second dose of coronavirus vaccine MORE told CBS News that all of her White House Press Office colleagues will wear N95 masks at the White House. The president-elect, who is eager to contrast his pandemic response with that of the outgoing administration, has challenged all Americans to wear masks during at least the first 100 days of his presidency while the nation expands vaccinations and tries to tamp down the escalating spread of COVID-19, along with hospitalizations and fatalities.
The Associated Press: Biden’s plans for vaccines and masks aim to break the pandemic cycle.
> International policy: Biden inherits a laundry list of intricate Trump-era global policies that will take time, effort and organization to appraise and overhaul. Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoTop U.N. official to call on U.S. to reverse terrorist designation for Houthis, warning of mass famine Chinese dissidents who deny Trump’s defeat reinforce China’s propaganda The Hill’s Morning Report – How many Republicans will vote for Trump’s impeachment? MORE has made last-minute policy decisions in an effort to cement the Trump administration’s legacy and to hamper Biden’s stated aims to reverse U.S. direction abroad (The Hill).
> 2020 census transition: Steven Dillingham, the director of the Census Bureau, on Wednesday indefinitely halted efforts to comply with Trump’s 2019 order demanding data on who is in the country illegally after receiving blowback from civil rights groups and concerns raised by bureau statisticians about the accuracy of that count. Biden has said he opposes the Trump administration’s effort. The ability to implement Trump’s apportionment order is in jeopardy because the processing of the data is not scheduled to be done until early March, many weeks after Trump leaves office. Two years ago, Trump ordered the Census Bureau to use administrative records to figure out who is in the country illegally after the Supreme Court blocked his administration’s effort to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census questionnaire. The statistical agency has not publicly said what method it’s utilizing to do that (The Associated Press).
The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!
How do we rebuild our democracy? by former Rep. Steve IsraelSteven (Steve) J. IsraelThe Hill’s Morning Report – Trump impeached again; now what? Democrats need a post-Trump message The Hill’s Morning Report – Biden inches closer to victory MORE (D-N.Y.), opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/39uofAe
For equal justice, throw the book at Capitol rioters and inciters, by Ben Jealous, former national president and CEO of the NAACP, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/3oJUwtg
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention was damaged by marginalization and politicization. This is how Biden can fix it, by former CDC directors Jeffrey Koplan, Julie Gerberding, Richard Besser and Tom Friedan, opinion contributors, NBC News. https://nbcnews.to/3bBqXX9
WHERE AND WHEN
The House scheduled a pro forma session at 11 a.m. Friday.
The Senate convenes on Friday at 10 a.m. for a pro forma session. Senators are not currently scheduled to return to Washington until the inauguration.
The president has no public schedule.
Vice President Pence will attend a briefing at 4 p.m. about inauguration security at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Economic indicator: The Labor Department will report on claims for unemployment benefits filed in the week ending Jan. 9.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will speak at 12:30 p.m. during an online, live streamed conversation organized by Princeton University. Information is HERE.
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisStates and businesses are essential for the US to become a climate leader Biden formally appoints NSA’s Anne Neuberger to key national security position The Hill’s 12:30 Report: House moves toward second impeachment MORE will detail their proposed multi-trillion-dollar economic stimulus and COVID-19 relief plan during remarks this evening in Wilmington, Del.
➔ CORONAVIRUS, grim and grimmer: U.S. coronavirus deaths hit another one-day high on Tuesday, exceeding 4,300. Total fatalities surpassed 380,000 and the death toll is nearing the number of Americans killed in World War II, which was 407,000. Confirmed infections have topped 22.8 million (The Associated Press).
States and major cities are scrambling to vaccinate residents who are age 65 and older. Demand for the inoculations among older Americans has soared and the process of delivering the injections has not gone smoothly (The New York Times). … In New York City, vaccination sites operate 24 hours a day, including with appointments. They are, for the moment, largely empty after midnight (The Wall Street Journal).
The CEO of COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer Moderna predicts the world will have to live with COVID-19 “forever,” which is not a surprising conclusion about a highly contagious and adaptive coronavirus. But it’s sobering to ponder. “SARS-CoV-2 is not going away,” said French billionaire businessman Stephane Bancel. “We are going to live with this virus, we think, forever,” he said Wednesday during a panel discussion at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference (CNBC).
➔ ENVIRONMENT: Emails obtained by The Hill show Interior’s ethics officials warned its communications wing about posting a video touting Trump’s conservation record that critics characterized as propaganda. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt tagged the president on Twitter in October while sharing the video that praises the “Trump administration conservation record.” The video swiftly earned criticism from those worried it may have violated ethics laws as well as Hatch Act prohibitions on posting political speech leading up to the election. Emails shared with The Hill show Interior’s own ethics staff raised similar concerns before the video was ever shared (The Hill).
➔ INTERNATIONAL: Alexei Navalny, the top opposition figure to Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinOvernight Defense: Trump impeached for second time | National Guard at Capitol now armed, swelling to 20K troops for inauguration | Alabama chosen for Space Command home Pelosi’s risky blunder: Talking about Trump and nuclear war Navalny planning return to Russia despite jail threats MORE, said on Wednesday that he plans to return to Russia next weekend despite threats that he could be arrested upon his arrival. Navalny has been in Germany since August recovering from nerve agent poisoning, which he blames on the Kremlin (The Associated Press).
And finally … It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for the first Morning Report Quiz of 2021! A lot of somber news last week delayed a puzzle. But we’ve missed hearing from our news trivia enthusiasts and today we’re eager to gather smart guesses about the life of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., ahead of Monday’s federal holiday.
Which president enshrined Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a federal holiday?
- Lyndon Johnson
- Jimmy CarterJimmy CarterWhen government becomes destructive Gerald Ford Foundation urges ‘dignified’ presidential transition Vice President Pence: Honor in humility MORE
- Ronald Reagan
- George H.W. Bush
In 1963, how long did King speak to deliver his powerful “I Have a Dream” speech, calling for an end to racism?
- 14 minutes
- 17 minutes
- 20 minutes
- 23 minutes
King was christened “Michael.” How old was he when he formally changed his name to “Martin”?
How many times was King sent to jail?